Thaddeus Stevens School Goes Beyond The Classroom

Thaddeus Stevens School students connect online to classrooms in other states and countries: from foreground to the back, sixth-graders Gwen Lantagne, Colby Switser, Brian Lamar and Ally Corrow.

"Hey, I just said 'good morning' in Chinese!" says a student. "And I just said 'good-bye' in French," says another.

"In fulfilling our mission to create students who 'thrive in a complex world,' we have established several programs that extend the students' learning beyond the classroom," said Julie Hansen, director of The Thaddeus Stevens School in Lyndon Center. "Certainly, the online offerings of Chinese, French, German, Latin and Spanish play a large part in expanding the world of our students." Students begin the day exchanging salutations in their language of choice.

In conjunction with its participation in the Middlebury Language Initiative, the school has established a partnership with a K-8 school in Hamburg, Germany. Through email correspondence and skyping, the students are connecting with students whose school is also committed to creating global perspectives in its students. Ultimately, family home stay exchanges will be an aspect of the partnership. Thaddeus Stevens School is already approved to receive international students, enhancing the ease of the exchange program.

This year, the school has been accepted to participate in Challenge 20/20 sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Schools are selected to work together to find local solutions to global problems. Thaddeus Stevens School eighth-grade students will work with their counterparts in two other schools: The Far Hills Country Day School in New Jersey and The American International School -- Riyadh.

"We want to create thinkers for the 21st Century, and that must include learning to navigate electronic communications graciously and cultivating awareness of the lives of populations around the world," say Kelli Kazmarski, Global Studies teacher.

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